Plants vs. Zombies

PZ1

Zombie hordes are making their way toward your back door, and the only thing that can protect the precious innards of your skull are the defensive plants keeping them at bay.

I’m not sure if the game’s makers understand that eating plants is not really a popular choice among the living dead. Sure, there are vegetarian zombies, even vegan zombies, but it’s few and far between. I mean, why would you ignore the awesomeness that is human flesh? It’s like the greatest thing about being a zombie next to no longer having to care about social norms, yeah, it kind of sucks that you’re never sated, that you are always forced to search for more like some kind of flesh junkie, but the feeling of sinking your teeth into a human, feeling that fear and adrenaline pouring from them into your very being as you consume them alive, it’s indescribably amazing, a pleasure a hundred times better than any drugs humans have managed to invent, and with the benefit of not messing with your senses too heavily. Except it you happen to consume a human already on some kind of substance, but that’s a story for another day. Anyways, now that I’ve got myself salivating, let’s get back to undead vegetarians. We don’t give them too much guff, a little bit of course, but zombies are a very accepting lot, to each his own we always say. We just don’t get it is all. Hell, I was a vegan when I was alive, but to hell with that now, not after I’ve tasted human flesh. Once you go red you’ll always go zed…or something like that. You know, like red meat but human red meat, and zed is slang for zombie. I was trying to be clever, epic fail on my part.

In Plants vs. Zombies, the zombie hordes are at your backdoor, literally. Your only defense are a variety of plants able to fight off the undead that are making their way across your backyard to get at your juicy brains. The zombies will stop at nothing to get past your plants, eating their way through your flora until they’re able to get to your doors and devour the insides of your skull. They’re being sent by the evil Dr. Zomboss who commands them from the shadows, waiting for the moment he’ll be able to step out and attack himself. Luckily, you plants are capable of keeping the hordes at bay by shooting, exploding, burning, and trapping the undead before they can get to you. Your only hope is to use your plants wisely as wave after wave of zombies continue to come out of the bushes, intent on devouring your plants and eventually your brains. If you can’t stop them from eating your plants and destroying the obstacles you’ve placed in their path, then you can expect to become a snack before they move on to the rest of your neighborhood.

PZ9{No one wants to be the victim of these guys}

There once was a time when I could sit in front of the television and play video games for hours, having grown up first with an Atari and then an original Nintendo I was an expert at planting myself, controller in hand, and devoting hours and hours to Ghouls ‘N’ Goblins, Metroid, Double Dragon, and of course the various Mario Brothers games, as well as a host of others that I just couldn’t put down, something especially annoying considering that this was before the days of being able to save your game. As time went on and the technology improved I only found myself drawn deeper, devoting a significant amount of time that could have been better spent, not to the point I had no social life or anything, the female of the species trumping pretty much anything else I could have dedicated my time to, but a huge amount of time none the less. Then I found that at a certain point, sometime around the XBOX 360, my love of video games started to wane, well maybe not the love so much, but the willingness to spend so much time playing. I still enjoyed video games, but I was no longer willing to drop sixty hours into a game when I had so many other things I wanted to do. I may have stopped aging as a zombie but it still doesn’t mean I’m getting any younger. With that in mind I began to seek out games that I could play for twenty minutes or so, maybe half an hour at a time before moving on to other things. That’s how I ended up finding Plants vs. Zombies, a tower defense game in which you are placed on a six lane grid and must position various defensive plants to stop the zombies coming down each lane. Should the zombies make it all the way down a lane you have one last defense, usually a lawn mower or other such gardening tool, that will take out every zombie in that lane, giving you time to set your defenses back up. If the zombies happen to make it down the lane a second time though you’ll lose the level. Set your defenses up right and survive until a certain number of zombies have been killed and you’ll win that level, allowing you to move on to the next.

PZ10{I need to pull my old Nintendo out of storage now}

My favorite games have always been the ones that involved more strategy than hitting the A button over and over again until things died, and Plants vs. Zombies definitely takes some strategy to get through. Though some beginning levels can be fairly easy, as the game progresses you are going to have to carefully plan out the placement of your defensive plants, and decide which ones you should take into the level. There are a wide variety of plants you’ll acquire as the game progresses, some you’ll buy from your neighbor and instructor Crazy Dave, the man who teaches you how to play the game and has a stockpile of different items, others you’ll unlock, but you are only allowed to take a certain number of plants into each level. You’ll have to make the decision before the start of each level. There are plants that will shoot different things at different rates, plants that will explode zombies, plants that will block lanes, and a host of other plants that all serve special functions. You’ll need to be careful how often you use some of them as each plant has a recharge time before you can plant it again, use one at the wrong time and you may not have use of it again when you really need it. The plant you’re going to have to worry the most about though is your sunflower. The sunflower generates sun for you to collect and spend on placing plants throughout the grid, each plant costing a different amount of sun to place, run out of sun and you’ll be unable to place anything. Key to knowing what to take into the level is knowing what zombies are going to be coming at you and what type of landscape you’ll be forced to defend. The zombies vary almost as much as the plants, some are basic, coming at a slow gate, others will have some kind of armor on making them harder for you to stop, anything ranging from a traffic cone to a bucket to football gear, and others will have completely different abilities such as the pole vault zombie that is able to leap over your lane blocks, the disco zombie that summons up other zombies to come at you, and even a digger zombie that will burrow underneath all your defenses and pop up at the other side. Before the level starts you’ll get a glimpse of what zombies will be attacking, but before you make a final decision you’ll have to factor in the grid you’re being placed on as well. There are a few different landscape types, the typical flat surface, sometimes with gravestones you must work around, levels in which the middle two lanes are aquatic, forcing you to either rely on aquatic only plants, or lily pads that can support ground plants, and a slanted rooftop where only catapults will be usable on most of the grid. With so many differing variables presented throughout each level you really have to think about what you need and how best to use utilize it in order to progress to further levels.

PZ2

{The standard layout}

PZ5{The aquatic layout}

PZ6{And the rooftop layout}

Plants vs. Zombies was a blast to play, I had a lot of fun trying out different combinations of plants against the many different types of zombies. Even after you beat the main campaign mode there is a great amount of replayability with the various modes included. There is a vase breaker mode where the grid is full of vases you have to break open, some contain zombies, some contain defensive plants, there is a Zen Garden where you can raise plants for money to buy further items from Crazy Dave, there is a challenge mode where you must beat individual challenges and are forced into very specific parameters, and finally a Bejeweled like game. For the price and the amount of systems you’re able to get it for, you can’t beat Plants vs. Zombies. It’s a game you can pick up and play for half an hour or a few hours with a simple yet complicated set up, meaning you’ll be able to pick it up fast but beating it is entirely something else.

PZ4

{Vasebreaker}

PZ3{Your Zen garden}

PZ7{Plants vs. Zombies Bejeweled}

I highly recommend this game.

 

The Undead Review

 

Publisher: PopCap Games

Designer: George Fan

Platforms: PC, XBOX, PlayStation, Android, iPhone

Release Year: 2009

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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